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Saturday 30 August 2014

Rihanna rocks but it's the former first lady who's centre stage at Dior show

Lisa Armstrong

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

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Valerie Trierweiler, centre, former companion of French President Francois Hollande, leaves after Dior's AW 2014 show in Paris
Valerie Trierweiler, centre, former companion of French President Francois Hollande, leaves after Dior's AW 2014 show in Paris
Pop singer Rihanna put on a sterling fashion performance outside the Dior AW14 show in Paris
Pop singer Rihanna put on a sterling fashion performance outside the Dior AW14 show in Paris

Street style – that supposedly spontaneous collision of paparazzi and strikingly outfitted woman – reaches its apotheosis outside the Dior show.

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In front of the Musee Rodin, where the show takes place in an elaborately rigged marquee, a succession of increasingly outlandishly dressed women pose – and pose – until someone takes their picture. To a soundtrack of whirring cameras and car horns, they stride theatrically back and forth, while police reinforcements blow their whistles and try not to gawp.

But yesterday one woman stole their thunder, not with an absurd shoe or hat, but with a surreal smile. You can banish Valerie Trierweiler from the Elysee Palace but you cannot remove the former First Girlfriend from her place in the front row at Dior, where she has been a loyal supporter since the French president first made her a public figure.

Theoretically, Ms Trierweiler is now a private citizen. And as we know, the French do not do the kind of prurient speculation beloved of Anglo Saxons.

Unfortunately, no one in France appeared to have received either of these memos. There was practically a rumble as la Trierwieler exited to travel home on the Paris metro. A traffic cop did a double-take as he realised who the Bouncy-Haired One was. The crowds were delighted. The photographers went berserk. This was even better than a sighting of Rihanna, who was taking her time to come out.

Ms Trierweiler seized her moment, and dutifully posed for every camera. This may or may not have had something to do with the fact that the alleged new First Girlfriend, Julie Gayet, was plastered winsomely across 'Gala' magazine, which was handed out free to every guest on arrival at the show.

It could all have been most frustrating for Raf Simons, Dior's creative director, who had just produced his best collection for the house since joining two years ago.

Stripped of all the complex additions and Dior signatures of old, this was a focused distillation of everything the house, under his guidance, now represents. The New Look 'Bar' jacket from 1947 is now more of a blazer worn with matching trousers. Sometimes it's extended into a waistcoat dress or a below-the-knee-length coat.

There was an array of loose cashmere shifts, some with jewelled fastenings. Impeccable cutting and dazzling colour mixes were key. Pink and daffodil, fuchsia and emerald, cornflower and red – for the fashion crowd, that was better than any Trierweiler and Rihanna combos. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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